Essential Car Care Tips: How to Wash a Car Cover?

Written by

Bruce Sonnier


Marcus Dutton

how to wash a car cover

Car covers are among the most important accessories for car care and maintenance. They act as a coat for cars, shielding against any harsh elements. Without them, your car will be prone to fading, discoloring, scratching, and cracking. Therefore, it is equally important to take good care of your car cover. To do that, you must know how to wash a car cover.

And you may wonder, can you wash a car cover by yourself? It is not as difficult as it may seem. Trust us, you can wash it in a breeze!

In short, these are the eight steps that you should take to wash manually:

  • Shake off any loose dust and dirt
  • Strap the cover tightly onto your car
  • Vacuum the cover to get rid of stubborn sand
  • Prepare a soapy solution and hose down your car cover
  • Scrub with a microfiber cloth or towel
  • Rinse thoroughly with a hose
  • Turn it inside out and repeat
  • Let it air dry

While these are the three steps to wash with a machine:

  • Determine washing machine compatibility
  • Put the cover into the machine to wash
  • Rinse it an additional time and let it air dry

In addition to these, however, there are details that you should be aware of and other tips that you should keep in mind. So, continue to read to find out!

Properly Washing a Car Cover – 2 Methods


A clean car cover is only a few steps away! Read carefully and follow along.

What You Will Need to Have

Gather the following materials:

  • A spacious and uncluttered space
  • A bucket
  • Some mild soap
  • A hose
  • A microfiber cloth or towel
  • A clothesline (Optional) or a towel rack
  • A washing machine (If you choose the machine method)

Once you have all the materials ready, you can proceed to the steps.

The Manual Method – Washing Car Covers (7 Simple Steps)


Step 1: Shake off any loose dust and dirt

First, like when you clean a california duster, start by holding the car cover in both hands. Shake it with just enough force to eliminate any loose dust and dirt. You should do this in a spacious and uncluttered area so that it is easy to clean afterward. Then, hold the cover in one hand and use the other to beat any remaining particulates out.

Step 2: Strap the cover tightly onto your car

Second, strap the cover onto your car. Be sure to stretch it out tightly. The key is to minimize any creases, wrinkles, and folds. Make sure that it is secured properly and there is no chance of slipping off during the washing procedure.

Step 3: Vacuum the cover to get rid of stubborn sand

Third, run your vacuum across the car cover to get rid of any remaining stubborn sand. Be very meticulous with this step to ensure that no grime is left on the cover. Otherwise, when you move onto the scrubbing, you encounter abrasion and leave unwanted scratches on the surface of the cover.

Step 4: Prepare a soapy solution and hose down your car cover

Fourth, take out the bucket that you have prepared and fill it with lukewarm water. Add mild soap into the water-filled bucket and mix it gently to build up lather. Then, set it aside. Use a hose to shower down the cover, removing any liquid residue. If you do not have a hose, use a different bucket to pour clean water over the cover instead.

Step 5: Scrub with a microfiber cloth or towel

Fifth, return to your soap solution. Soak a soft microfiber cloth or towel into the bucket, and use it to scrub the cover. Do this diligently in up-and-down or back-and-forth motions. Also, scrub in a single direction. Avoid swirls and circular motions. It is best to scrub the cover by sections, beginning from the top. This way, you will not accidentally miss out on any portion. Be extra attentive with stains from bird droppings and splattered bugs. You will have to address these with a bit more force, and do not expect them to wash off with just one swipe.

If after several scrubs and you still cannot get rid of them, squeeze a generous amount of the soapy solution onto them and let it sit. The soap will work its magic to break down the stains gradually. While waiting, scrub other parts of the car cover. After approximately five minutes, you can go back to the stains and repeat any scrubbing to eliminate them.

If it still does not work, note where the stains are in your mind—we will come back to solve it later. Scrub the entire car cover before you proceed to the next step.

Step 6: Rinse thoroughly with a hose

Sixth, hose the cover down by sections. Be sure to use lukewarm water and rinse thoroughly. No soap residue should be spotted on the cover. Repeat this step two to three times—better safe than sorry! In case you do not have a hose, use buckets of clean water as a replacement. This will take more effort and time, but rest assured that it will still work fine. Now, let it drip dry.

Step 7: Turn it inside out and repeat

Seventh, turn the car cover inside out and redo all the steps from one to six.

Step 8: Let it air dry

Again, let it dry naturally. You can clip it onto a clothesline to dry if you want. Otherwise, just let it dry while it is still covered over your car. Some sites will recommend throwing it over a fence to try, but we advise against that. The fence is most likely not clean. So, all you will do is get it dirty again.

At this point, be sure that your car is parked in a valid spot under good sunlight but at the same time, not harshly or intensely exposed. Washing your car cover on a windy day can speed up the drying process. However, there is an equal chance that the strong wind blows debris and dust onto your just cleaned cover.

Although letting it dry under a shade is well-intentioned, there is a high risk of bird droppings dirtying your cloth again. Just be mindful of the cover during this step. Wipe away any filth as soon as possible. Do not wait until it hardens and becomes increasingly difficult to remove.

Once it is completely dried, you have your clean car cover!

Here is a video that you can watch.

The Machine Method – Washing Car Covers (3 Simple Steps)

This is the procedure that you should go through for manual cleaning. However, there is an option for machine washing if your car cover permits.

Step 1: Determine washing machine compatibility

Check the tags on your car cover. If it says “machine-washable” you can go ahead and proceed with this set of steps.

Step 2: Put the cover into the machine to wash

Throw the cover into your wash and fill it with water. Cold water is preferred. Then, add in mild laundry detergent or soap. Try to choose one that does not have a fragranced formula. Set the washer to delicate or low washing cycles. The least amount of force and pressure is enough for your car cover.

Step 3: Rinse it an additional time and let it air dry

After the cycle completes, rinse it one more time with just water. To complete, take your cover from the washer and let it air dry. You can hang it on the clothesline with your other clothes, or over a towel rack. Even though it is tempting, do not try to speed up the process with a drying machine. Be patient and you will be rewarded accordingly!


So, with that, you have reached the end of this article on how to wash a car cover. To recap, you will have to take these eight steps for a manual wash.

Hopefully, it has been easy to follow and helpful. Try it yourself and let us know how it goes in the comments. If you have any other questions or thoughts on this topic, feel free to leave a comment as well. We are always delighted to hear from our readers. So, do not hesitate.

Also, you are welcome to share this article with your friends, family, and anyone you think will appreciate the content.

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